Dasymetric mapping using UAV high resolution 3D data within urban areas

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Multi-temporal analysis of census small-area microdata is hampered by the fact that census tract shapes do not often coincide between census exercises. Dasymetric mapping techniques provide a workaround that is nonetheless highly dependent on the quality of ancillary data. The objectives of this work are to: (1) Compare the use of three spatial techniques for the estimation of population according to census tracts: Areal interpolation and dasymetric mapping using control data-building block area (2D) and volume (3D); (2) demonstrate the potential of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology for the acquisition of control data; (3) perform a sensitivity analysis using Monte Carlo simulations showing the effect of changes in building block volume (3D information) in population estimates. The control data were extracted by a (semi)-automatic solution-3DEBP (3D extraction building parameters) developed using free open source software (FOSS) tools. The results highlight the relevance of 3D for the dasymetric mapping exercise, especially if the variations in height between building blocks are significant. Using low-cost UAV backed systems with a FOSS-only computing framework also proved to be a competent solution with a large scope of potential applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1716
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • 3D point cloud
  • Building parameters
  • Census
  • Free open source software
  • Monte Carlo simulations


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